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An Insider's Look at Dementia Care

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerDecember 3, 2015

An Alzheimer’s  disease or dementia diagnosis can be overwhelming in itself, but when the financial impact of a diagnosis comes to light, it can be crushing to some families. With care costs ranging from $17,000-$91,000 annually, many families are wondering what they can do to alleviate the financial strain of the disease.

Take a closer look at the cost of care, learn how advanced planning can help ease the impact and get tips on questions to ask potential care providers to find quality care.

Planning Ahead to Avoid Overwhelming Dementia Care Costs

It’s no secret that the cost of Alzheimer’s and dementia care is capable of overwhelming families coping with the devastating diagnosis. The 2015 Annual Cost of Care Study from Genworth Financial reported that:

  • The median cost of care for one year for a private room in a nursing home was $91,250
  • The cost of a semi-private room was $80,300
  • The median cost for a home health aide was $45,760
  • The cost to stay in an assisted living community was $43,200
  • Adult day health care amounted to $17,904

The financial impact of dementia alone is capable of devastating families. The CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Sandy Markwood acknowledges the overwhelming cost and advises families to begin planning for long-term care as soon as a loved one is diagnosed. This allows the person with dementia to voice their wishes while they are still able and allows the family time to divide caregiving responsibilities, find the appropriate care services and seek quality medical care.

Kelly Gannott is a partner at Kentucky ElderLaw in Louisville and says that more than 3/4 of her firm’s work is crisis planning, rather than preplanning. She wants to let families know that preplanning for care can protect the assets of the person living with the disease.

8 Questions to Ask Potential Care Providers

Eldercare attorneys can help families navigate the financial aspect of care and ensure the appropriate documents are in place but finding affordable, quality care can be draining for families coping with the emotional and financial impact of a dementia diagnosis.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that families ask these 8 questions when seeking care for a loved one with dementia:

  1. Do their care services meet the needs of your loved one with dementia?
  2. Does the family play a role in creating and updating a care plan?
  3. Is the staff specifically trained to work with seniors who have dementia?
  4. Have members of the staff passed a background check?
  5. What is the plan if a caregiver can not make it in to work?
  6. Can you provide references?
  7. Does the community have engaging activities for your loved one?
  8. For in home care, invite the potential provider over to meet your loved one and observe how they interact.

How has Alzheimer’s or dementia impacted your family financially? Would advanced planning have helped ease the financial strain? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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